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La Manzanilla Memo - December 15, 2012

The End of the World?

I’ve barely come to grips with the start of this year’s season, and organizers are already ramping up for La Manzanilla events and fund raisers happening next year. Granted, 2013 is less than a month away, but isn’t a majorly significant event supposed to happen between now and then?

The Lois Lane of La Manzanilla, chic in a tinfoil tiara, reported in an early January 2012 column that the world as we know it “could end on or about December 21 of this year.”  Ex-Lakeside resident Paul Callens, featured that week, cited NASA, NOAA, FEMA and other government groups who predicted the potential for giant solar flares to fry Earth’s power grids and cripple our reliance on all things electronic. I haven’t heard much from any of them lately about a big BBQ.

There was no shortage of people in tinfoil hats and their attendant apochrypha at the beginning of this noteworthy year. For some, the 25-year culmination of 1987’s Harmonic Convergence would begin the Age of Aquarius. Others read dire consequences into the December 21, 2012 termination of the Mayan Calendar. Rogue planet Nibiru was supposed to collide with Earth around this time, as well. Haven’t heard much recently from these adherents, either.

Now, at last, the “Big Day” is less than a week away! No one has made a fuss about it, at least not along the Costalegre. It is pretty mellow over here, though, easy to lose track of time and get out of step with reality. If anyone’s paying attention, I guess we’ll know next Saturday how accurate the predictions were.

YES in La Manzanilla

Davison Collins and students from the telesecundaria are betting on the long term. Collins, in conjunction with his Tierralegre A.C. nonprofit, is working with the ejido and junior high to establish a YES Initiative in La Manzanilla.  YES stands for Youth, Ecology and Sustainability. All three elements are at work in the new, totally organic community garden by and for the students.  In a little over a month, they’ve already taken their first crops to market.

The Ejido donated the quarter hectare site for the YES Initiative, and Tierralegre provided the hydration infrastructure. Under the supervision of Collins and Michal Hall, education coordinator, the 45 students participating in the program turned a hardscrabble patch of dirt into dozens of individual garden plots, and are continuing to plant organic seedlings, water, weed and provide TLC.

This is a pretty sweet deal for the kids.  Not only do they get class credit for participating, but they also get to share 75 percent of the profits from sales of their produce. (The other 50 percent goes to project maintenance and materials.)   Their first couple of trips to market, i.e., the Friday morning tianguis at the plaza, were quite successful.  Organic veggies are big sellers in La Manzanilla, especially greenery that hasn’t traditionally been grown locally, such as bok choy, kale, Swiss chard, et cetera.

The purpose of the YES Initiative is to offer local youth a meaningful way to spend their free time.  It also teaches them a life skill: from how to prep earth for planting all the way through to putting food on the table.  They’re learning by doing.

Someone declared YES a win/win initiative for La Manzanilla. In keeping with Collins’s eco-maestro mantra “Recycle, Reduce, Reuse,” empty wine bottles are being inverted and used to delineate the various beds in the garden. There’s never a shortage of wine bottles around here, and that they’re going to such a worthy cause encourages us to empty more of them.

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